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Proverbs 13: 11 “Save All You Can” Stewardship # 3

10/21/2018 Rev. Jerry W. Krueger Boardman UMC

“Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day.” A Perry Como tune from the late 1950’s. The kid who says of their dessert after dinner, “I’ll save it for later.” The teacher or administrator who says, “Don’t forget to save your work on the computer as you go...” 

We talk about saving resources by using low flow water faucets, energy saving light bulbs, we talk about saving money on taxes. Saving our resources be it money, time, or dessert, is a significant portion of our life.

Ever been driving with someone and they show you a shortcut that actually saves you some time? Proverbs 13: 11 states, “dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” Talk to a stock broker and they will tell you that the key to economic stability is to invest in something like a mutual fund and leave it alone. Add to it. Leave the principal alone, and reinvest dividends and interest. That compounds growth that becomes eventually, hopefully, exponential.

In our society today, we are a culture that celebrates the “Why wait?” aspect of life. If you want a new Big Screen TV, Best Buy can finance it for you, right now. If you want a new car, why wait? Just go into the dealer, pay nothing down, and finance your vehicle for 72 or 80 months. That is 6 to 6 1/2 years of a car note. But you get what you want, when you want, today.

I remember as a kid, how difficult it was to wait until Christmas. At least it was for me. The idea of delayed gratification does not flow naturally in our human makeup.

And that is the way that saving is viewed often. Jesus Christ addresses the farmer in Mark 4: 26-27 who sows the seed, and then waits patiently for the seed to sprout and grow. There is some wait time involved.

Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey? He is a Christian financial teacher who battled his way out of bankruptcy and has built his own personal wealth, all the while teaching people how to thrive financially. In Ramsey’s 7 Financial baby Steps, the first step is accumulate an emergency fund of $1,000. Make that a priority.

Step 2 is begin paying off debt using the snowball method. Step # 3 is have 3- to 6 months of savings on hand for that “unexpected event like job loss or illness.”

We speak of money being necessary, a tool in society. Having money is a good thing. Loving our money is not. But there is great wisdom in utilizing money in a prudent fashion that is coupled with good stewardship.

As a kid I had a Lionel electric train, and would stare for hours over the Lionel train catalog that came in the mail. I recall wanting a trackside barrel loading factory. The train would stop in front of a chute, then you pushed a button and a forklift drove forward, picked up a yellow barrel and dropped the barrel in an open gondola car.

I wanted that badly. I pined over it. And I told my parents about it, hoping that they would just go get it for me.

My Dad wisely said, “Jerry you get 50 cents a week for chores, you can do other chores to earn money, and you can work in the neighborhood doing odd jobs to earn money.”

The $25 price tag seemed unattainable. So my Dad got a slip of paper and wrote the amount needed on it. Each Friday I would count the money in my peanut butter jar bank with the slot cut in the red Jif lid, and dad would let me know how far away from my goal I was.

After 5 months, I had the money, we went to Joske’s downtown department store by the Alamo, and bought the barrel loader. It was a momentous day.

But it was also a teaching moment. That waiting was worth it. Saving will get you to your goal. This is a way to be prudent and wise with money, and in our saving, we can still honor God.

Anyone here ever planted a shade tree at your home?

In most cases, we plant the tree on the West side of the house to shade it from afternoon sun, and we plant it knowing, like the apple tree we plant, that we may never see the fruits of that labor. But we have invested for the future, another’s future, who will benefit from our good work.

Saving is a good thing, hoarding is not. Having “enough” is enough for the saver. Hoarding is when we go out of bounds and become consumed with accumulation. Hoarding money involves an unhealthy obsession with the accumulation of financial reserves. Just as all types of hoarding illnesses prompt people to accumulate things they don’t really need, the activity of hoarding money is likely to trigger a short-term burst of good feelings. But saving is not hoarding.

I don’t know how you all receive your income. Some may receive monthly or weekly checks, maybe it is electronic deposit.

But I ask this of you, do you have a plan for saving some of what you earn?

My Mom and Dad would sit at the table and pay bills together each month. They would write down how much both had earned, and then Dad would write the first check to the church. Then to savings, then mortgage, utilities, groceries, etc.

I asked Dad why he gave money to the church, and I said, “If you didn’t give to the church you would have more money Dad.” He replied, “If I don’t give to the church, I am cheating God, and my life will not be as rich.” It took several years to understand the concept of cheating God.

In the Gospel of Matthew 6: 19-21, Jesus gives us this truth to live by, “do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. FOR WHERTE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE YOU HEART WILL BE ALSO.”

It is important that as we earn income, we save income as well as good stewards. God calls us to use patience and wisdom in managing our finances, because we believe that what we earn is a gift from God. We would ask that God the Father through Jesus the Son, and the power of the Holy Spirit would allow us to be more faithful stewards of all we have, earn, save and give.

We, like those forward future oriented people, who plant the tree for the future crop, or future shade that we may never realize, we ask that God allow us to comprehend that bringing in a portion of the harvest, the earnings we receive, God has given us. A we give back to God as a way of thanks and praise and gratitude for all God has done for us...

This week, think about how God is calling you to look for the good stewardship use of what you have, for the future life of your family, for your church as a sign of love and commitment to God in heaven. And all God’s people, proclaimed, Amen!